Four incidents of piracy and robbery of vessels were reported off the Gulf of Guinea in April 2018, all four off the Nigerian coast and Nigerian Internal waters. A robbery on a containership took place at Lagos Port. Eleven crew members were kidnapped from a General Cargo vessel off Bonny, Nigeria and two passengers from a small passenger boat in Rivers State, Nigeria. Two people were killed and four injured during the last incident.
Attacks off Brass, Nigeria
21 April 2018 - The General Cargo Ship, FWN Rapide was underway from Takoradi, Ghana to Port Harcourt, Nigeria when it came under attack near Port Harcourt. Eleven crew were kidnapped from the vessel. The Dutch company, ForestWave made contact with the crew on 30 April 2018 and all crew members seem to be alive and well.9
21 April 2018 - Two passengers were killed, two kidnapped and four injured during an attack on the passenger boat they were traveling in along the Kula waterways, Akuku Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State. One of the injured is a policeman. The Chairman of the National Youth Council of Nigeria, Rivers State and the Charmain of Rivers State Petroleum Tax Force were two of the passengers on the vessel. It is speculated that they were not taken because they had a security detail attached to them.11
Update Kidnapped Crew
Release of MT Timi Hostages - 11 April 2018
Three seamen, kidnapped from the tanker Timi on 31 January 2018 while underway from Cotonou to Port Harcourt, were released on payment of a ransom. They are Capt Sushil Sharma, Pankaj Kumar and Ajay Kumar. It was previously reported that the Timi was attacked on 10 March 2018.
After the pirates left the Timi with the hostages they boarded a small boat. According to the three men they drove in circles for nearly four hours after which they took them to their camp in a forested area. They were fed once a day and one of the three received no medical attention when he contracted malaria.
According to Shushil the owners of the Timi earlier paid a ransom of 3 million naira (US$ 8300) for the release of the ship and other foreigners onboard.
On 12 March 2018 the kidnappers made Sharma phone the families to demand a further ransom of 11 million nairas (US$ 30 thousand) from the families of the three seamen. The families and the Mumbai agency finally settled on an amount of 6.5 million niaras (US$18 000).12
Release of Marine 711 Hostages - 27 April 2018 - The three Korean crew, Hyon Yong Ho, Captain of the vessel; Kim LL-Dol, chief officer, and Jeong Dae Young, chief engineer were released after payment of a ransom through a third party contracted by the Korean Embassy in Nigeria and their company World Marine. Earlier South Korea deployed the warship, Munmu the Great to the Gulf of Guinea to secure the release of the hostages. The hostages were allegedly held in Bayelsa. The three crew from the Marine 711 was kidnapped on 26 April 2018 approximately 27nm SW of Anloga.13
Two Hostages of Tanker, Constanteno - A Ghanaian, Jonathan Hammond, and his Greek business partner, Andrianou Nicolaus, who were also kidnapped on March 26 by the same group of pirates while onboard a tanker the Constanteno, are still in captivity.13 It was earlier reported that the two hostages were from the Cargo Vessel Esther, but it seems that a third vessel, Constanteno was also attacked by the pirates on the same day.14
7 April 2018 - The Bulk Carrier, Dino was attacked by six armed men in a speedboat 41nm SSE of Brass, Nigeria at 04:30LT. The vessel was fully loaded with a cargo for wheat destined for Port Harcourt. The crew initiated evasive manoeuvres, but four pirates managed to board. They boarded with a ladder notwithstanding the razor wire. The crew retreated to the citadel. At 05:00LT they made a distress call to the Nigerian Navy. They left the citadel after five to six hours. The vessel was ransacked. Doors were destroyed, cabins looted and all communication equipment on the bridge were taken. Handsets for radio communication were cut. They found one portable radio left behind and called for help. At 14:00LT the Nigerian Navy arrived and escourted them to Port Harcourt. The master was grazed in the shoulder when fired on by the pirates.10
Independent Global Incident Analysis